It's a pleasure when a blogger pals ask me to invade their space by sharing my thoughts & recipe ! This peps me into action, revs up my heart(h), after all, it is just not another post where I can go and edit/update anytime :)
All these and much more were in my heart & mind When I accepted a request for a guest post from Kalyani @ Sizzling Tastebuds. While I spent a few sleepless nights thinking about the dish that would best justify the request, it also put me on a soul-searching trip. As I penned the introduction section , I couldn't help peeping in to my past posts to search for words that best describes me, my journey from a home cook to a food writer !
I started cooking roughly 10 years back and was a disastrous cook! Tales of burnt cabbage and blackened rice are regaled every once in a while, by my hubby of course, with gusto and is an immense source of amusement on those boring nights :D
While cooking was more for necessity than out of choice, the passion element trickled in only later. The love shown by hubby and kids after eating a good meal made me enjoy the hearth time. Chronicling my culinary adventures started roughly 18 months back more as a distraction while trying to face some very turbulent storms on our personal life and soon I began appreciating the finer nuances of cooking and also ventured in to baking (the hitherto unexplored arena).
As I started penning my hearth time in to words, I realised how important it is to cook with love - for a dish to shine it is not just the ingredients, however expensive they may be, that matters but L.O.V.E . It not only makes the wold go round but can turn a dish from downright simple to stunningly Gourmet !
Before I hop on to the recipe, a huge shout-out to Kalyani - warm & friendly, a lovely cook, passionate foodie and above all a dedicated blogger. Thank you lovely lady for giving me this wonderful opportunity to reflect & pore my heart out !
Now to the Recipe
A vegetarian twist to many of the non-vegetarian dishes is something that my hearth sees a lot. This not only creates a taste that suits our palate but also brings a different, albeit zesty touch to the dish.For instance the shashlik which is usually with meat went all cheesy,veggie and mushroomy and underwent a twist in our kitchen last sunday.
Shashlik or Shashlyk literally means skewing marinated pieces of meat (lamb/pork/beef) or alternating the meat with veggies or any other choices and grilling/roasting them over charcoal, wood or a barbecue.
For the marinade I played with the spices in my pantry and what resulted was a tasty medley of Indo-Chinese & Mediterranean flavours in it. The core ingredients then soaked up this finger-licking juice for a few hours while remaining refrigerated. Later they were threaded to skewers and grilled for the smoky-charred hue.
In the meanwhile, a spicy arrabbiata sauce with tomatoes, garlic & dried basil was prepared, to give the dish a fine resounding punch. This sauce was a perfect companion to the steaming buttered rice.
Doesn't that sound wonderful ? and yes it matched its taste as well as its looks! Hop in to the recipe section and see if you can give your own twist to the dish.
The Star Ingredients
- Cottage Cheese - 400 grams - cut in to chunky rectangles
- Bell Pepper (Green) - 1 large - cored and cubed
- Pineapple - 1 small - cubed in to chunky pieces
- Button Mushrooms - a few - washed thoroughly and halved (depending on the size)
- Onion - 1 large - peeled and cubed
For the marinade (Do taste the marinade to adjust the spices as your taste buds dictate)
- Apple Cider Vinegar - 10 to12 tbsp
- Texan Barbecue Sauce - 3 to 4 tbsp - or to taste
- Tobasco Sauce - 1 tbsp - to taste
- Dark Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
- Dates Syrup - 1 tbsp
- Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
- Dry Mango Powder - 1 tsp
- Dry Ginger Powder- 1/2 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder - 2 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
- Ginger & Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp each
- Coriander - a few sprigs - finely chopped
- Mint - few leaves - finely chopped
- Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
- Dried Rosemary,Chives,Oregano, Basil - 1/2 tsp of each- to taste
For the Sauce (Arrabbiata)
- Tomato - 4 small sized - chopped
- Tomato Ketchup - a liberal squeeze or two (I used Kissan)
- Garlic - 4 pods - chopped
- Dried Basil Leaves - 1 tbsp (you can use fresh leaves if available)
- Salt - to taste
- Pepper - to taste
- Olive Oil
- Water - a cup
For the Buttered Rice
- Cooked Rice - 1 cup
- Salted Butter- 1 1/2 tbsp
Here's How :-
Keep the veggies, cheese,mushroom & pineapple cubed and ready to mingle with the marinade. In a bowl mix all the ingredients for the marinade and set aside. Mix the sliced chunky ingredients into the marinade and refrigerate it for 2-4 hours. Refrigeration allows the pieces to absorb the juices completely.
In the meanwhile prepare the sauce as follows-- In a pan add a splash of olive oil and saute the chopped garlic for some time. Add the tomatoes and let it cook till it starts turning mushy. Then tip in the tomato ketchup and the dried basil and give it a swirl. Drop in a cup of water and season the mix with salt and pepper. Let it simmer till it attains the desired consistency.
Once the chunks of veggies and cheese are marinated- thread them along a skewer and roast/grill them in a barbecue or oven till it is charred.
I placed the skewer rods on the barbecue grill and grilled them @ 240 C. Every once in a while, I basted the skewers with the left over marinade. Grill till it turns charred & smoky.
In a small skillet add butter and as it browns toss in the cooked rice.
Time to plate-up - Spread the buttered rice on a plate and place the skewer on it. Pour in the sauce generously and tuck-in immediately when hot.
You can serve the shashlik as a cocktail snack or appetizer too!